Nº 3 2013 > WSIS Forum 2013
Success stories from partners
Oman's strategy for becoming a digital society
By Salim Sultan Al Ruzaiqi, CEO of Omans Information Technology Authority
Since the establishment of the Oman Digital Society (e-Oman) strategy in 2003 and its revision in 2010, Oman’s Information Technology Authority has taken concrete steps to streamline access to information and communication technologies (ICT), as a way of transforming communities and integrating societies.
Political will, as expressed by His Majesty the Sultan and demonstrated in creating the HM National Award for Excellence in e-Government, has been instrumental in fostering various governmental, private and civil initiatives that have enabled Oman to achieve its current level of digital penetration and readiness. Progress has been made, in particular, in e-government, e-education and e-business.
In October 2012, under the auspices of the Council of Ministers, the Information Technology Authority launched the e-Government Transformation Plan with specific stages and timeline. This plan aims to increase the effectiveness of government services by making them available electronically to citizens and businesses at all times. The goal is to integrate government e-services so that they can be provided seamlessly, easily and safely over the Internet.
Transparency, accountability and responsibility are key characteristics of good citizens enabled by ICT. Oman’s State Audit Institution has sought to engage the general public by providing a two-way system for communicating. This enables the reporting of suspect transactions, leading to the recovery of public funds and the protection of national interests.
The Oman Government Network, a national communication infrastructure linking all government entities, supports all e-Oman projects and enhances public services.
People remain the core of development, and their ownership of the e-Oman strategy and ICT skills are keys to turning Oman into a digital society. A range of initiatives seek to bridge the digital divide and enable citizens to be actively involved in the affairs of their own communities.
The Community Knowledge Centres, the Women’s Community Knowledge Centres, the National PC Initiative and other community-based initiatives have proven to be a great success in promoting ICT as a cornerstone to empowering citizens and bridging the digital literacy divide.
Through the e-Oman strategy, the Information Technology Authority has brokered cooperation among several stakeholders and established a multistakeholder partnership involving private sector and civil society organizations to provide training and access to ICT.